Dinner comes together quickly and easily with this Instant Pot BBQ Pork Sandwich filling. With some pork roast and a variety of spices, the recipe tastes delicious and is super affordable.
Do you have a new Instant Pot still sitting in its box, purchased with the assumption that it would change your life, but you find that you’re still waiting?
I get you. It took me awhile to get myself fully aboard the pressure cooker train. Now that I’m here, I’m enjoying the hands-free nature of the beast, cooking up everything from Hard Cooked Eggs and Black Beans to Cheesy Sausage Pasta and great rice in the instant pot.
The electric pressure cooker is fantastic at cooking tender sandwich fillings. Case in point: Instant Pot BBQ Pork Sandwiches
What’s a pork sandwich?
There are a number of classic pork sandwiches, including the Cubano, the BLT, the Club Sandwich, and the Ham and Swiss. A BBQ Pork sandwich ranks with the best of them with its tender seasoned pork, topped with pickles and BBQ sauce, tucked into a bun or between two slices of sandwich bread.
While slow cooker pulled pork is certainly delicious, it does require a long wait time. This recipe for BBQ Pork makes great use of the electric pressure cooker.
Simply season the meat and and let the instant pot do the work. In just a little while, shred the meat and assemble your sandwiches. Delish!
Similar to other sandwiches, these BBQ Pork Sandwiches go great with side salads (try Creamy Coleslaw or Deli Potato Salad), veggie dippers, chips, or even Cheesy Stuffed Potatoes.
Leftovers are great the next day as sandwiches, but the meat is also delicious in tacos, burritos, soup, and chili.
You don’t need anything too fancy for this recipe, just some spices and pork shoulder (roast or strips).
You can use a commercial spice mix, like Montreal Seasoning or your favorite BBQ rub, but our custom BBQ spice blend included here comes together quickly with regular items from the spice cupboard, including:
- chile powder – the ground chile, not the mix that has added salt, etc.
- smoked paprika – regular is fine, but smoked will give you more of that BBQ vibe
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- ground cayenne pepper
- red pepper flakes
Since the pressure cooker requires some liquid, you’ll also need:
- tomato sauce
- apple cider vinegar – you can use another type of vinegar if you prefer, though ACV adds a natural sweetness to the recipe
This recipe really couldn’t be easier!
- Combine the spices in a small bowl and toss with the cubed pork.
- Heat the oil in the instant pot and add the pork, tossing to coat and to brown on all sides.
- Combine the water, tomato sauce, and vinegar, and add this to the pot.
- Cover the pot, close the pressure valve, and cook on high for 45 minutes. Allow for a 10 minute natural release.
- The meat will be fall apart tender, shredding easily with a few pinches of the tongs.
- Serve immediately on buns or sandwich bread, topped with pickles and BBQ sauce.
This meat mixture freezes beautifully. Cool the meat completely, package in meal size portions and chill thoroughly before storing in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To serve: reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- boneless pork shoulder roast – $3.58 ($1.79/lb)
- spices – $0.25
- hamburger buns – $1.44
- BBQ sauce – $0.50
- dill pickle slices – $0.25
A batch of eight sandwiches costs $6.02 or about 77 cents/serving! Compared to what you’d buy at a restaurant, homemade is an incredible deal. And quick and easy, to boot!
How to save even more:
This recipe serving 8 people is already super affordable. Here are some strategies from the Good Cheap Eats System to help you save even more:
- Check the sales! Pork roast goes on sale regularly for less than a couple dollars which makes this a great budget meal.
- Shop the store with the best prices. A huge jar of dill pickles is available at Costco or ALDI for incredibly low prices. Same with BBQ sauce and spices.
- Cook from scratch. If you make your own buns or get them on sale, this can be quite a good cheap eat.
- Freeze extra for later. Eight servings a bit too much for your table? Freeze half for another night. You’ll be able to avoid take-out on a busy day and still enjoy an affordable meal.
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Instant Pot BBQ Pork Sandwich Recipe
For the BBQ rub:
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon chile powder or ground chile
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lb pork shoulder roast or strips, cubed
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
For the sandwiches:
- 8 hamburger buns
- 1 cup BBQ sauce or more to taste
- 16 dill hamburger sliced pickles
- In a bowl combine the spices for the BBQ rub. Toss this with the pork cubes, turning to coat.
- Heat the oil on saute until shimmering. Add the seasoned pork cubes. Brown quickly, until all sides have a nice crust, turning as needed.
- In a small cup combine the water, tomato sauce, and vinegar. Add this to the pot.
- Secure the cover and lock the pressure valve. Set the machine for 45 minutes on manual.
- One the timer rings, wait ten minutes before releasing the pressure. The meat should be fall-apart tender. Shred the meat and moisten with some juices if needed. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
- To serve: Assemble the sandwiches by placing a generous amount of shredded pork on hamburger buns. Top with BBQ sauce and dill pickles. Serve immediately.
- Promptly refrigerate leftovers and use within 4 days. For longer storage, cool the meat completely, package for freezing, and store in the freezer, for up to 2 months.
This post was originally published on September 7, 2009. It has been updated for content and clarity.
If you don’t have the free bottle of BBQ sauce, you can try Eastern NC BBQ sauce… not much more than vinegar, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper… tabasco if you want a little more zing. Most people have all those things in their pantry already, so it’ll cost almost nothing.
Yum! Toss a little slaw on top and we are all set
You betcha. This one is good: https://goodcheapeats.com/2009/07/broccoli-slaw-with-pecans-and/ and so is this one: http://lifeasmom.com/2012/03/sunshine-cole-slaw-urs-cabbage.html Yum, now I’m hungry.
This sounds great! Does it do well to freeze after you shred it up?
Yes, it does.